Catcher builds skills over summer for select, high school play

06/16/2014 12:42 PM

06/16/2014 12:43 PM

Keller Central catcher Nikki Hawe has been playing softball most of her life, but this summer her focus is even sharper. This summer, Hawe will be focused on her softball career after high school and what she needs to do to get there.

“I really like being able to travel to new places and meet a lot of cool people but select softball is more stressful,” she said. “High school is more fun because you are playing for your school and select is more about getting recruited and playing in front of colleges.”

Hawe has been successful already on varsity, and continues to look for ways to improve.

“Nikki has been our starting catcher since her freshman year and has come so far in developing the leader behind the plate that we need,” said Central head coach Kimberly Reed. “She has an outstanding arm, good instincts, and a dedication unmatched by many.”

Mike McGovern is the head coach of the Texas Glory Adkins team where Howe also plays, and he has watched her grow into her role over the past year.

“She loves to play and would love to play at the college level,” he said. “The team is very close and, being the catcher, she leads the defense.”

The experience of playing on two teams throughout the year has sharpened Hawe’s skills and abilities.

“She works throughout the year to improve her game. It takes dedication to get better, not just talent. She has and is putting in the time to give herself the best chance to get the most out of her talents,” Reed said. “She brings back experience to our team. Nothing beats game situations, live pitching, and pushing through the six games or more in a day. It makes you better.”

Hawe is capitalizing on the extra time over the summer to practice some skills and fine-tune others.

“My arm is probably my biggest strength, and my throwdowns,” she said. “I’m working on getting better at bat and on defense both. My coaches are really intense and we do a lot of blocking and throwing drills. It helps you get better during the summer and you come back to high school better than you were before.”

Hawe’s short-term focus on the Texas Glory team is to win tournament games and make it to nationals at the end of July in Oklahoma City. It is the goal for the whole team.

“Our team goal is to make it to nationals,” McGovern said. “We have to win at least one of the four qualifying tournaments.”

After the summer season closes, Howe is looking toward a new school year and new teams to face under the UIL realignment.

“I want to come back better for school next year,” she said. “We are in a new district and I am looking forward to beating the new teams.”

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